Thursday, March 30, 2006

Criteria for a Moral Sexual Relationship

At my talk at Vanderbilt on Tuesday night, I outlined my five criteria for a moral sexual relationship in response to a question. The Religious Declaration calls for a new sexual ethic based on personal relationships and social justice, not specific sexual acts, but that can be hard to operationalize.

And so I've developed these five criteria, that I suggest people remember as CUHMP or "Can you have my pleasure?" I teach them at schools, colleges, churches, and nursing homes.

I believe that a moral sexual relationship is:


Non-Exploitative (that's where the U comes in, for Not Using)


Mutually Pleasurable

Protected (against pregnancy and disease if any type of intercourse is to occur.)

And then I ask audiences what they need to know to assure that these criteria are met. The most typical answers are Time, Communication, and Shared Values.

These criteria apply if you are 18 or 45 or 85, if you are gay, straight, or bisexual, if you are married or single. The question to ask you today is "Do they apply to you?"


1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Oh, I find this very interesting. I come from a background where it was sort of like "don't have sex before you are married." so if you didn't fit that criteria, you were lost. my questions...thinking outlound and interested in feeback anyone has:

what if a relationship is consensual, non-exploitive (not using), honest, mutually pleasurable, protected but one is in a committed relationship and not telling his or her partner? would this fall under honesty - that is honesty with all who might be touched by the relationship and not just the two partners in a sexual relationship? is honesty always best?

must you have time to have a moral sexual relationship? what about sex with someone you don't know well that meets the criteria? or can it if you don't know them well?

and i would love to hear more about how to decide if a sexual relationship is non-exploitive and consensual. where does power, privledge, and positionality play into this?

great ideas. thank you.